Visiting the Eiffel Tower is usually #1 on any tourist bucket list, but while I was studying abroad, I didn't end up visiting the Eiffel Tower until 4 months into living in Paris. Exams were ending, classes were easing up, so with two weeks left to spare in the city, my friends and I took a stroll after school one day to the Tower, and decided to go to the top.
It's...weird, really, when you find yourself right there, in front of the Eiffel Tower, underneath the Eiffel Tower, inside the elevator of the Eiffel Tower. That huge, recognizable icon that is less a hunk of metal and more a symbol of...what? Of everything, for different people. The Eiffel Tower is a symbol of symbols, it is a representation of centuries of representation, it is an image of an image. It is an icon, and for that reason alone, it is unfathomable.
The peeling, exterior paint is kind of ugly, the wait is long, the lines are chaotic, the ticket price is unnecessarily steep, the grilled fence is annoying, the free Eiffel Tower WiFi is weird for existing in the first place, the windy air is really, really cold, and can you please stop using your iPad as a camera? It takes up like five feet when you're wielding that around, thanks.
But the point is, you love it anyway. This is the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower. It's cliché, but hey, six months later—I think I'm allowed to indulge in a little bit of touristiness with these photos.
(The smoke was from a bunch of celebrations that had been going on that day after Paris's soccer team won a match.)